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Okinawa’ s summer dishes

 2016/10/31 Okinawa   4 Views

Suku swimming in the ocean

Have you ever seen an Okinawan cuisine that many small fishes placed on tofu ? It is called ‘Sukugarasu’ in Okinawan language. ‘Suku’ is this fish’s name and ‘garasu’ means ‘salted fish’. Fish’s scientific name is Siganus fuscescens and in English it is called ‘mottled spinefoot’.
‘Sukugarasu’ is a a seasonal tradition that tells you summer has come. Although you can enjoy sukugarasu whole year, in summer you can eat suku in raw.

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Every year a day with spring tide in July and August, a school of small suku swim to sea grass beds in Okinawan island and islands of Amami. Fishermen wait this moment to catch fish, before the fish eat seagrass is the timing. After they eat seagrass , their body smells and does not taste good any more, so fisherman wait number of ‘suku’ swim to their nets.

Freshly caught suku is good for eating raw with a little bit of vinegar and soy sause. Therefore ‘Sukugarasu’ is presereved food for the rest of the year.

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You should try the following vegetables to enjoy Okinawa’s summer. It is also recommended to eat Goya, a summer vegetable belongs to the same group as a gourd and it grows in Asian countries. The plant grows 4-5 meters and the fruilts grow 10-50cm. In Japan, for long time only Okinawan people eat them but it recently became famous in other parts of Japan nowadays. Goya taste bit bitter, it is said to be good for your health, which contains many Vitamin C. ‘Goya chanpuru’ is a famous dish. ‘Chanpuru’ meas ‘mix’. Tofu, spam, and eggs are usually mixed for goya chanpuru. You can also enjoy it by thin slice with shoyu or some dressing with.

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Another famous summer vegetable is ‘Naabera’ which is called ‘Hechima’ and it English name is sponge gourd. The young fruits are edible and when it becomes old you can you can use its skelton as a sponge. Japanese people who live in mainland of Okinawa surprise to hear this is edible as for long time they mainly use this as sponge only and never thought of eating it. Naabera is also served as ‘Naabera chapuru’ , similer as Goya chanpuru. You can also eat it as one ingradient of misoshiru (miso soup).

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You can see how to make chanpuru in the following page.
*Local special dish in Okinawa

 

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